The first of several Scottsdale Quarter restaurants, Brio Tuscan Grille, opened last week and I was treated to a sampling of Brio’s delicious, Italian-inspired eats. The second Valley location of Brio (the other is in Gilbert’s San Tan area) sports Old World, Tuscan influences, from the cream-colored drapery and floral fabrics to the antiqued planters and gold-ish walls. I appreciated that even though Brio is a chain establishment (the new Scottsdale spot is among several throughout the country), I did get the feeling that I was embarking on something special. Plus, I am a sucker for the green-and-white awnings that decorate the exterior of the restaurant.
To start our feast at Brio, we sampled several delicious appetizer selections. The beef carpaccio, served with mustard aioli, capers and fields greens was very tasty, and I was taken with the balsamic dressing that covered the greens. The lobster bisque was flavorful, though it could have benefited from a few more chucks of lobster. The bruschetta with proscuitto, asparagus and caramelized onions was my favorite starter–for a gal who doesn’t like onions, I thought Brio’s pinot noir-soaked variety was delicious. For the main event, I ordered up the shrimp and scallop risotto. Shrimp and petite scallops mingled in a flavorful dish of Parmesan cream, basil, pesto, fire-roasted tomatoes and Bercy sauce. The chicken milanese pomodoro also received a thumbs up from me. The chicken was moist yet crispy on the outside and the pomodoro sauce that covered the accompanying angel hair pasta was light and fresh-tasting. To finish up, a “dolchino” version of tiramisu was in order. The traditional treat was served in a espresso cup and featured the usual suspects of lady fingers flavored with coffee liqueur, mascarpone cheese and cocoa. I like that most of Brio’s dessert are available in miniature dolchino versions (you can even get a sampling of several small desserts if you’d like). You can still have a treat–but not feel too terribly guilty. 15301 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 480.607.1100, http://brioitalian.com/.
The opening of Brio certainly has me stoked for the other Scottsdale Quarter restaurants to open their doors. Here’s what’s on tap for the remainder of 2009 and 2010:
Parc Central (boutique dining and lounge)
Momenti Café (Italian-inspired coffee and beverage lounge, sandwiches, desserts, art, live music)
StingRay Sushi (sushi bar and restaurant)
Santorini Cuisine (modern Mediterranean cuisine unique to region)
Tutta La Casa, a Fox Restaurant Concept (Mediterranean-inspired cuisine)
Bing Crosby’s Restaurant (golf and Hollywood-themed restaurant and piano lounge)